At CameraStuff, we’ve got a whole bunch of backgrounds to choose from. Picking which one is best for you can be a bit of a challenge. So, to help you out a bit, we’ve compiled some pros and cons when using different studio backdrops. From PVC, paper, cotton, gauze to and velveteen backdrops:


PVC Vinyl Backdrops

CameraStuff’s range of PVC backdrops is the perfect white backdrop for beginners and pros alike. Unlike paper backdrops, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) material can withstand the abuse of numerous photo shoots. The material is very easy to clean, too. Smudges and dirt marks can be easily removed using a damp mop/cloth and some cleaning agents.  If you expect a lot of spillage and traffic on your backdrop, then PVC is hands-down the best solution. 





Pros:

 Easy to clean off dirt and liquids (even during a photo shoot)
 Durable and hard-wearing (long-lasting)
 Double-sided (white and black)
 Crease and wrinkle resistant
 CameraStuff PVC backdrops include a solid aluminium crossbar


Cons:

 Not easy to travel with (crossbar is non-sectional/backdrop is heavy)
X  Pinch and fold marks are difficult to remove (requires heat gun/hair dryer to remove)
X  PVC texture may be visible in photos (especially when using the black side)
X  Prone to show sheen and light reflections (especially when using the black side)


General Tips: 

Make sure both vertical stands are set at the same height to avoid drooping.
It’s preferable to use a PVC on a hard-surfaced floor.  A combination of soft carpets and high heels may create pinch marks
Scuff marks from black shoes are difficult to remove. Ask your models to stand on a piece of white fabric instead or stick masking tape underneath their shoes.


 



Paper Backdrops

A high-quality paper backdrop is the best solution for creating smooth, even and solid backgrounds.  Paper backdrops are typically sold in 9 to 11-meter rolls and are designed to be consumable. Once a portion of it gets dirty or damaged, simply cut it off and roll down a fresh section. Paper backdrops are often dubbed the best studio backdrop to use because they feature no colour inconsistencies and no surface irregularities.

 


Pros:

 Variety of colours available
 No visible textures
 Non-reflective surface
 Crease and wrinkle resistant (unless forced)


Cons:

 Not easy to travel with
X  Consumable (dirty/damaged portions need to be cut off)


General Tips: 

Tape the edge of the paper backdrop to the floor to avoid the end rolling back
Store a paper backdrop vertically. Resting a paper backdrop horizontally on a hard surface may misshape it over time.
Don’t throw away offcuts. Offcuts can be reused as smaller backdrops for product or macro photography.

 



Cotton Fabric Backdrops

Cotton backdrops are ideal for both studio use or for on-location use. It can be folded up into a 50x50cm bag or pillowcase for easy transport or storage. Cotton backdrops are also machine washable and can be ironed/steamed to even out any creases. The durable fabric is long-lasting and firm and should last quite a while.





Pros:

 Easy to travel with and to store away (lightweight, foldable, portable)
 Machine washable
 Non-reflective material


Cons:

X  Prone to wrinkle and crease (needs to be ironed or steamed out)
X  Have to wait until photoshoot is finished before it can be cleaned


General Tips: 

A pillowcase can be used for storage and travel.
 Crumpling a cotton backdrop, as opposed to folding it, will avoid long/visible creases and fold marks.
A cloth backdrop can be folded over numerous times to create a smaller backdrop when needed.


 





Gauze (Fantasy Cloth) Backdrops

A gauze backdrop is a very thin, translucent, and tissue-like, material that is usually draped or hung over a vinyl or paper backdrop to add colour or special effects. However, if a gauze backdrop is folded over a few times it can be used as a backdrop on its own. Gauze backdrops are otherwise great to use for portraits, newborn photography, photo booths and product photography.



 



Pros:

 Very cheap to buy
 Variety of colours available
 Good for adding different colours or special effects
 Easy to travel with and to store away

Cons:

 Poor quality (easy to tear and damage)
X  Transparent
X  Non-washable
X  Prone to crease and wrinkle

General Tips: 

A gauze backdrop is best used over another backdrop (such as vinyl or paper) for an effective and quick change of colour.
A gauze backdrop that is folded over numerous times will reduce transparency and will make an effective backdrop for portraits/smaller objects.
Gauze backdrops are easy to damage. Avoid anyone standing on it.


 



Velveteen Backdrop

A velveteen backdrop is both durable and easy enough to travel with. Its non-reflective surface provides deep and rich feel, especially in black.  Velvet is therefore ideal for low-key lighting.



Pros:

 Crease and wrinkle resistant (unless forced)
 Non-reflective material
 Hard-wearing fabric material
 Easy to travel with and to store away


Cons:

X  Difficult to clean (not machine washable, needs to be scrubbed by hand)
 Attracts dust and various fibre particles (needs to brush off)
X  Limited sizes and colours available


General Tips: 

Use a broom to knock off dust and fibre particles
At least two clamps are needed to hang backdrop off a crossbar